Pregnancy Sex 101: Safety, Pleasure, and Getting Comfortable With Your Changing Body

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What to sex-pect when you’re expecting. Everything you need to know for maximum safety, pleasure, and comfort as your body changes during pregnancy.

Written in partnership with Zaya Care

So, what exactly does pregnancy sex entail? A lot of people have the idea that once you get pregnant, your sex life comes to an abrupt halt. Well, that certainly doesn’t have to be the case! Perhaps you don’t have as much time or energy for the wild, exciting sex you may have been having pre-pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up or settle for anything less than mind-blowing pleasure. Intimacy is a great way for you to bond with your partner, release pent-up energy, and build a stronger relationship as you transition into parenthood. 

First, let’s clear up a few questions, then onto some tips!

  1. It it safe to have sex while you’re pregnant?
    Yes! Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, there is no reason you can’t have sex while pregnant. Establish boundaries with your partner and take things slow to explore what feels good. It might change throughout your pregnancy as you experience changes in your body and hormones, and that’s a-okay.
  2. Will sexual penetration during pregnancy hurt the baby?
    As long as you don’t have any serious complications, sex should not affect the baby. The amniotic fluid and strong uterus muscles should protect your baby from any rough penetration. It might seem a little odd at first, but just remind yourself that it’s very normal, and your baby is perfectly content. As always, you should consult your doctor if you experience any pain or issues with penetration.
  3. Which sex positions are best during pregnancy to avoid pain?
    Ultimately, trust your body and go with what’s comfortable for you and your partner. If you can, try to avoid lying on your back when you have sex, especially during the end of your pregnancy. This position can be tough on your hips and decrease blood flow, and you’ll definitely want blood flow/flexibility for labor. For many individuals, side-by-side penetration and doggy style are ideal for comfort and pleasure. As with any other sexploration, be sure to talk to your partner about your mutual expectations, needs, and desires. Open communication and exploration are key to a healthy sex life during pregnancy. And, of course, never rush anything. It’s your body, so you get to decide what’s best for it!

6 Tips for Better Pregnancy Sex

  1. Explore verbal intimacy.
    A lot of people struggle with body image during pregnancy… but sex can actually be a wonderful, healing place to build confidence and get to know your new and growing body. Talk to your partner using body-positive language and focusing on specific parts where you might be feeling “not so sexy.” Remember to move slowly and not push yourself into anything you’re not fully comfortable with. It’s your body.
  1. Touching, stroking, kissing, and masturbating is “sexy time,” too!
    Sex is whatever you find pleasurable. It’s not just penetrative, it doesn’t have to involve a penis, and you don’t even have to physically touch or be touched by your partner to experience pleasure. Sex while pregnant is a great way to explore intimacy, embrace your body, and get to know what turns you on while preparing for your baby to arrive. 
  1. Embrace your evolving body.
    Because pregnancy can be uncomfortable at times, it’s easy for sex to be rushed and less intimate for the person carrying the baby. However, challenge yourself to think about sex as a full-body experience. Focus attention on the parts people often overlook, like the curves of your belly, your nipples, and your gorgeous widening hips.
  1. Be mindful of the pleasure you receive when you touch your partner.
    Talk with your partner about what turns you on, what you’re comfortable with, and how you feel when you touch them. Get a feel for what arouses you when you pleasure your partner (whether or not it involves “sex”). You can then apply those learnings after the baby arrives. Most likely, you won’t have tons of spare time lying around with a newborn, so use “pregnancy sexy time” to your advantage! 
  1. Try visualizing your turn-ons.
    Use your imagination (alone or with your partner) to visualize sex positions, partners, toys, etc. Let your mind lead the way and explore what comes up and turns you on. Try to envision yourself the way you are in the present, pregnant, so you can really celebrate your body. You can either leave your visualizations for yourself to enjoy or play out some of your fantasies with your partner in the bedroom.
  1. Challenge your own presumptions about the pregnant body.
    Society can make pregnant people feel like they should be hiding their tummies and growing bodies. Remind yourself that you’re beautiful, sexy, and deserving of pleasure and intimacy. Chances are your body will continue to grow, widening and shrinking in places that it never has. Your sex life might not be the same as it was before, but it can be even better and ever-evolving. 

Ready to approach your pregnancy with confidence? Try Zaya Care! Zaya Care is a virtual network of licensed nurse midwives, doulas, and lactation consultants with the mission to help moms feel physically and emotionally supported during their motherhood journey. Join now to message with a maternal and newborn expert to ask anything from milk supply to labor pain management for free.

Shannon Dixon

Shannon Dixon

Shannon Dixon is the digital communications associate at The Motherhood Center of New York. She has worked extensively in journalism, digital media, and design for women's health organizations and continues to freelance as a health writer. She is a graduate from Bard College and has been published in Blood + Milk and Stix.

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